No US woman has ever won a cross country ski medal in the Olympics. Ever.
Jessie Diggins just might change that in Pyeongchang.
She’s already set a new high water mark for US woman with two 5th place finishes—in the skiathlon and in the 10k freestyle. She’s also got a 6th place finish in the sprints.
Like other US Nordic athletes, Diggins is more famous in Europe than she is at home. In countries like Norway, where cross country skiers are as famous as football and basketball players are for us, Jessie’s Instagram posts have often gone viral.
Diggins is indefatigably positive. She is considered the team’s cheerleader by her US Olympic Team teammates. But she’s also clear about being her own cheerleader, especially when the stakes are high and the chips are down.
“My one rule is that I ONLY ever say nice things to myself on race day. I wouldn’t ever turn to a teammate and say “wow, you are kind of sucking right now”…so why do we sometimes say these things to ourselves? It can be the hardest thing to be as encouraging and supportive internally as you are to someone you care about. Once I figured out how to be a cheerleader for myself as well as others, things started going better during the toughest race moments.”
|“My one rule is that I ONLY ever say nice things to myself on race day. I wouldn’t ever turn to a teammate and say “wow, you are kind of sucking right now”…so why do we sometimes say these things to ourselves?|
Here at Leadership Landing we agree with Jessie wholeheartedly. We see the business leaders that are able to be kind to themselves and others are generally better managers in many ways. They are more respected, have better buy in from their team, and more easily achieve their goals than managers who use tactics that are less kind.
|Leadership Landing defines kind leaders as those that exhibit empathy and compassion, and are able to integrate the needs of the business as a whole with the needs of the individual team members.|
Showing kindness to yourself is a little like putting on your own oxygen mask on a plane. You can’t do anything for others if you’re hyperventilating or going blue in the face! It is important to remember we can’t really have compassion for others until we have compassion for ourselves. And if we don’t have compassion for others, we can’t be successful at work.
In my coaching work, I spend a significant amount of time working with clients to understand what it means to be kind. Striving for excellence, acting with urgency, and staying motivated and committed to a goal, can in fact all happen while staying kind and compassionate to oneself. In fact, without it, success can be quite hindered by internal negativity.
I often help clients to create a mantra that can be used if they are moving into unkind territory. It sounds something like this: ‘No matter how ______ I feel, I deeply and profoundly accept myself’. I encourage clients to fill in the blank with their own difficult feeling. It might be stressed, anxious, angry, disappointed, unprepared, or something else that is particular to them.
Ultimately, true courage and bravery can only take hold in an environment of deep self-acceptance.
Would you like to learn more about how to be truly kind and courageous at work?